Get a good CPA, now.
They will help you figure out the right amount to pay as salary and what you can take out as a distribution. Don't hold me to this but I was always told it's like 1/3 salary, 2/3 distribution.
Ex: $100,000 / year
$33,333 salary (pay full payroll taxes, fed / state taxes)
$66,667 distribution (no payroll taxes, still pay fed / state taxes)
Therefore, cutting out self employment tax on your distributions.
But more importantly, if you're asking a question like this, you are not prepared for the time consuming and confusing world of S Corp taxes. Please get a CPA now to help you, S Corp taxes are overwhelming.
I thought I could handle self-filing taxes with an S Corp and I was wrong. Wasted a lot of time using Turbotax Business edition only to file an amended return the next year because I screwed up. I also failed to pay some other random corporate tax and got a penalty I was able to get waived.
A decent CPA will cost you $1,200 - $1,500 a year to:
- give you peace of mind (don't undervalue this)
- provide monthly advising
- get your W2s created properly
- prep / file corporate taxes (like the 1120S which is big)
- handle payroll processing (pay your payroll taxes)
- provide estimated tax payment amounts for fed / state taxes (you can pay these online in most states)
The cost of self-filing for one year:
- Turbotax Business = $200 (maybe a little more with add-ons)
- Patriot Software = $240
- Time = probably 24 hours or more on payroll, taxes
- Stress = a lot
So you save like $1,000 doing it yourself but open yourself up to a lot more stress, time and possibly audits.
Also, you may not be thinking of it now, but in the future if you need to get a loan, like say for a mortgage, a CPA can increase your chances of making this happen. Business owners have a harder time getting loans like this because you're considered risky / self-employed. A CPA can legitimize you and help translate your business taxes / income / profit loss, etc into loan underwriter speak. Just went through this and wouldn't have gotten the mortgage without my CPA.
Get a CPA you can trust to handle this. For me, this was a smaller town, smart guy. I tried working with a bigger firm and it just didn't work for me. Good luck.